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Impossible Cube action in FL

Posted By: Michael Petch
Date: Thursday, 31 October 2013, at 3:59 p.m.

In Response To: Impossible Cube action in FL (Rod)

Good example Rod, and I have actually had this discussion about 2 years ago. It brings to light one other problems in the USBG rules. Specifically the dead cube. The wording is:

"5.6 DEAD CUBE. When the cube level is high enough to ensure that the match will end with the current game, that game shall be played to conclusion at the present cube level."

The technicality here is that the person who already is leading is allowed to recube (with the score 3away-2away) since the person trailing can win the match on a 4 cube if he takes. If he drops (see below) the match is over. Either way the match is insured to be over on the current game.

But how do you interpret the rule if the score is 5 away 2away? Technically speaking if the person at 2 away recubes to 4 (Yes, they already have enough to win) the cube won't be high enough to ensure the match will be complete. Who knows maybe the opponent won't recube back. In that case the dead cube rule would IMHO not allow the person in front to cube.

To me that is pretty much nonsensical. What makes it worse is that the completion rule:

"4.9 COMPLETION. Each game must be rolled to completion, unless ended by passing a double or redouble, or conceding a no-contact position as a single game, gammon or backgammon loss. Neither matches nor games may be canceled, replayed or settled. Players are responsible for playing to the posted match length. The first player to reach the posted match length is the winner."

This rule doesn't actually seem to prevent someone from cubing in your situation and then allowing the opponent to actually drop to lose the match. The game would be ending on a drop, which also happens to be the end of the match. And the completion rule doesn't seem to suggest that the match can't end on a drop.

To me the dead cube rule and the match completion rule together allow for some really bad situations. 2 years ago, I went out of my way to convince SHG that if the person ahead has enough points at the current cube level to win that the cube is considered dead. They modified the software so you CAN'T cube when you already have enough.

This prevented a host of issues. I also informed people that the Dead cube rule would be specifically modified in any tournament I run contrary to the US rules. This change would be publicly and very noticeably published ahead of time.

To me the real culprit here is the Dead Cube rule. Modify the rule to not allow the cube to be turned if the player making the cube action already has enough to win the match. That prevents a player dropping the match for a loss, and prevents the silly situation you have here.

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